CHOOSING A BULLET FOR HUNTING SEASON   2 comments

Recently at the Professional Outdoor Media Association (POMA) business meeting in Tunica, MS, I had the opportunity to meet with some of the folks from Brownells.  They are a company that supplies firearms accessories and gunsmithing tools.  One of their divisions is Sinclair International, (www.sinclairintl.com) a supplier of items for the precision shooter. 

Never having been much of a target shooter, my knowledge of such things is quite limited.  Target shooting for this hunter is limited to sighting in scopes and practice with them prior to hunting season. 

While talking with the Brownells folks (www.brownells.com) they intrigued me with the idea of choosing a bullet for hunting.  For many of us older shooters, the choice of bullet for a particular species usually comes from friends, fellow hunters, and ammunition companies.  Seldom is any real thought and planning likely to go into the selection.  Often it is a matter of going to a gun store and asking for ammo for a particular species. 

That is not always bad, but perhaps we should look more into the selection process. 

Sinclair lists FOUR BASICS that should go into choosing the proper bullet. 

1.  WHAT IS THE INTENDED USE?  The choice should relate to the size of the quarry.  For instance, small game considerations should factor into consideration the ranges are usually short and expansion should be limited.  The later is to avoid excessive meat damage. 

With varmints, where you may not be trying to save a hide or meat, as in ridding a ranch of prairie dogs, quick expansion is good. 

For medium size game such as deer and antelope, quick expansion provides quick kills.  You might also consider terminal velocity and energy but it is not critical.  Most modern bullets will do the job. 

With large game, penetration and controlled expansion are critical.  Terminal velocity and energy are important.  A flat shooting bullet that does result in a quick humane kill is not a good idea. 

For dangerous game, they recommend what ever it takes to stop the animal.  Here big heavy, controlled expansion bullets or solids are the choice.  Again, terminal velocity and energy are factors. 

For the competition shooter, the choice depends upon paper or steel targets and down range distances.  Such items as knock down power, penetration, and expansion are not usually considerations.  The exception might be steel plates at great distances in which case knock down power becomes important. 

2.  WHAT IS THE YARDAGE?  For unknown ranges, a flat shooting bullet is best.  If the range is known and you can adjust the scope or sight, you want the most accurate available. 

3.  WHAT IS THE TWIST RATE OF YOUR RIFLE BARREL?  Fast twists allow greater accuracy with long or heavy bullets.  However, try various bullets to find out which works best with your rifle. 

4.  IS PRICE A CONSIDERATION?  For the high volume shooter this can be important.  For hunters just sighting in rifles, it is a good idea to use what you plan for the field.  Serious competitive shooters can often get away with low cost, bulk or seconds for practice and saving the good stuff for matches.  For assistance in finding the right bullet, Sinclair sells Bullet Sample Paks containing 12 bullets for the handloader.  They come in popular brands and calibers.

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2 responses to “CHOOSING A BULLET FOR HUNTING SEASON

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  1. Don sorry try to reach you this way. But with your background and the coincedence I thought maybe yo can help. I also left a message on Facebook. I have a Pennysylvania/Kentucky long rifle with the name or what appears as R Gasaway. Any information would be appreciated. Thank You. Steven Manley. plantationiron@gmail.com

    • I don’t knnow too much about my ancestors. That R Gasaway could well be from one of them. John Gasaway fought in the Revolutionary War (Twice drafted). For his service he was deeded some land in Ohio and settled there. It is possible one of his children might have settled in the area before moving on to some place further west.

      I have been meaning to look into the family but just have not gotten around to it. I will keep your email on file in case I find something about an R Gasaway that might fit with your rifle. You are lucky to have such a nice weapon. All my black power weapons are replicas that I use for hunting.

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